I had a day...

Trip Start Jan 10, 2007
1
5
34
Trip End Ongoing


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Flag of Costa Rica  ,
Monday, February 26, 2007

I woke up and it was still raining.  It had started raining the day before.  And none of the pelo de gato of Orosi, we´re talking torrential downpour and winds that I was sure would land me in the Land of Oz.  And it was cold.  Not cold enough to turn the ¨mucha agua¨as my family called it into snow, but when a fireplace is the only source of warmth and the wind rushes through the holes between the wall and the roof in the kitchen, it still feels pretty cold!  So cold in fact that the night before I had donned my winter hat (gleefully stolen from my brother in the States), long sleeved shirt, sweatshirt, fleece, socks, and slipper socks while sticking my feet in the fire and doing lesson plans.  It was almost torture to move away from that small circle of warmth to my room where I crawled into my sleeping bag, hat and all.  And now I had woken up and it was still raining.  I wondered how I would get all of my handmade posters to the school without ruining them.  I wondered if it was possible to have a rain day, but figured that this probably wasn´t going to happen as the rainy season brought months of days like this.  Cold, rainy days.  Windy days.  Fun.  Eventually I crawled out of bed and went to the bathroom to shower under my trickle of hot water, which though only a trickle, I am very thankful for!  At school all the kids are wearing their sweaters and my fellow maestros are shivering and greet me with, "Hace frio!"  Today is also my first day in my new classroom with the new schedule, and I eagerly head towards it full of hope and eager to put up my posters.  But when I enter my heart sinks.  I had thought that maybe it would look a little different from the last time I had seen it the Friday before.  Perhaps it was wishful thinking, but I had thought that I would have more than two tables and a couple of broken chairs to work with, or even that the leftover junk from former music teacher would have been cleared away.  Nope.  No such luck.  I try to arrange the random tables and desks in some sort of order and get a few posters on the walls before I´m called to have a coffee with Sandra, the other maestra.  Afterall, the thinking is that the colder it is, the more coffee one should drink to warm up.  My usually three cups a day goes up to four or five on such days as this.  When I come back, Mario, my director, has rearranged my desks and the fourth graders are filing in.  Within ten minutes a broken chair has dumped a student on the floor, the seat has fallen off of another chair, and a nail sticking out of another has put a hole in a student´s pants.  I have to scold Steven for whistling at me again.  Then it´s time to rush to the 2nd & 3rd grade classroom for their 80 minute class where I realize that though they´ve never been taught English, they know how to count to ten and my lesson basically collapses.  By the time I get them lined up and out the door for lunch, I have fifteen minutes to race up the hill, gobble down my own meal, and race back for kinder.  Thankfully the rain has stopped for a few minutes so at least I won´t be getting wet. 

After inhaling my rice and beans, I race back down the hill to be confronted with an odd sight.  The entire school is standing on the hill behind the kinder building, pointing, and yelling.  A few mothers are hanging around, but they seem unconcerned, and Mario and Sandra are nowhere to be seen.  I walk up and ask what´s going on.  On child mentions something about Emily´s brother with the red hair.  I have never seen this kid, but really that´s not too surprising at this point.  I ask where he is and someone points into the kinder room.  Wondering how on Earth someone, much less a kinder student, could have gotten in the classroom when it was locked, I open the door and a flood of my students rush in looking around.  I point out that there is no one in there, but they seem unconvinced.  The commotion outside continues and some of the kids run back out behind the building.  Through the window it looks like they are pointing at the roof.  Is there a kid on the roof?!  I panic!  There´s a kid on the roof and I´m just sitting here getting ready to play the hokie pokie.  I run out back, now joined by the religion teacher.  The kids are pointing not at the roof, but it seems at the ceiling.  Did this kid, this red haired brother of Emily somehow get between the roof and the ceiling.  The lights flicker and the kids all gasp.  Finally I see my one student who knows English decently well and ask what´s up.  He points to a red spot in the lighting fixtures.  "See!  It´s Emily´s brother!"  I couldn´t see anything.  "A spirit!"  A ghost.  The entire school is in uproar because of a ghost!  Ok, that´s it.  I shoo everyone out of the kinder classroom, assuring them that Emily´s brother is most definitely NOT there, and begin with my class.  But it´s a little difficult with a line of children outside the windows with their eye´s closed and arms out humming and looking like their trying to perform and exorcism. 

My last class of the day is first grade, back in the closet classroom with all the reject chairs and desks from the rest of the school.  Immediately I realize there are not enough chairs, with one kid having to sit in a little plastic thing that is so low that when seated, his chin is just inches above the table.  Mauricio is forced to stand.  But that´s ok.  Today I´m teaching them 12 Buckle my shoes.  And it´s going well until the 3 4 Shut the Door part, which sounds more like ¨F---k the door¨ when 14 6 year olds who can´t make the shhh sound say it together.  And the thing is that they love this line because they get to make a shutting the door motion, so they yell it as loud as they can.  But I can´t get them to say it correctly and it´s too late to go back now.  I move on to 5 6 pick up sticks and hope it fairs better.  Then do a nice round of 1 2 jumping jacks to help get rid of some of their excess energy.  And let me just tell you that watching 1st graders try to do jumping jacks is one of the most hilarious things I´ve ever seen.  Imagine 12 little bodies hopping up and down flailing their arms in a sort of windmill, chopping motions, while loosing their balance and giggling.  Unfortunately, though, this windmill/chopping/epileptic fit exercise didn´t get rid of their energy.  They just won´t stop talking!!!  I´m forced to have everyone put their head down on their "desks" for five minutes.  About a minute goes by before I notice Mauricio.  He´s standing up, but sure enough, his head is down on the desk.  He´s looking at me with a little smile and he just looks so ridiculous!  He´s so short that it almost works...but not quite.  I completely forget my angry teacher routine and start laughing, the kids look relieved, but I immediately reign myself in and tell Mauricio to just come and stand next to me.  After five minutes, which is like an eternity to kids this small, I let them lift their heads.  Kendall raises one hand with his hand and puts the other over his mouth, as I have taught them to do after the constant calling out of "Teacher!  Teacher!!!  TEEEEEEAAACCCHHHEEERRR!" (a call that continues to haunt my sleep).  He wants to go to the bathroom, but goes out the wrong door, in the wrong direction.  And then I realize that he´s going to go pee on the side of the building...right under the window where Maria Fernanda is sitting.  I quickly divert her attention over to the board, and beginning telling the class about the letter "C".

I get home that night after walking in the rain, which has started once again, and immediately call Christina, my friend and fellow WorldTeach volunteer in the next town over.  Oh my God, she says, have I had a day!  I chuckle a little.  You´re telling me!    
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Comments

dadofdivaboots
dadofdivaboots on

What a day in the life of!!!!!
Lacey
Incredible day you describe here. I can only imagine. You experienced about three life times in one day. Amazing!
Love
Dad

travelinsara
travelinsara on

Hola chica
I am really enjoy living vicariously through you and getting the 'real' picture of this adventure I've had in mind for some time. I will continue to follow your progress before taking the leap myself. It sounds like you are doing great despite or perhaps because of..the challenges.

Good luck staying warm and dry. Buenas suerte con todo.

travelinsara

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